The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Irani labels export as historical ‘blunder’

Jamshedpur, July 15: Director of Tata Sons and former managing director of Tata Steel J.J. Irani criticised the Union government’s decision to allow free export of iron ores.

Irani termed it “anti-development and against India’s interests”.

A qualified metallurgist, Irani stressed that the Union government, by allowing export of iron ores from India, would do the same thing, as the British did to the country.

“We should never forget that it was because of free export of cotton and import of finished textile products by the British that led to the weakening of Indian textile industries. We always blamed the British for the lack of development of Indian textile industry,” Irani added.

He was referring to the recent decision taken by a group of ministers, headed by Union home minister Shivraj Patil, to allow free export of ores on recommendation made by Anwarul Hoda committee constituted by the Planning Commission.

“This decision, if implemented, would go down in the chapters of Indian history as a ‘blunder’ and would be deterrent to India’s industrial growth. It would also deter the country as a whole,” Irani added.

Irani was in Jamshedpur to deliver a lecture at the MS Khan Memorial Lecture organised by the local chapter of the Indian Institute of Metals at the Centre for Excellence.

“I am of the opinion that we should not export ore. Instead we should work to develop more industries and utilise the resources what nature has given to us. Why should we land in a situation when we are forced to import steel made from our own ore at a higher cost, as it happened with our textile products before independence,” he prodded the audiences with the question.

Arguing in favour of the anti-export stand, a stance that’s backed by all the steel producers of the country, he said when a country like China could ban coal export, India’s decision seems even more unjustified.

“At one point China used to export freely. But when it realised its adverse effects it decided to put a cap. Finally, a few year’s back, the practise was banned altogether. We should realise that India is a growing economy and we need ore for ourselves. By exporting we would do more harm to our future generations than good,” stressed Irani.

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